Poundland Top Novices' Hurdle
Grade 2, Aintree 14:55
£100,000 guaranteed,
4yo plus,
2m 103y, Class 1  
Friday 8th April 2023

1 Inthepocket 3/1F
2 Strong Leader 14/1
3 Luccia 7/2
12 ran NR: Colonel Harry, Rubaud
Distances: 1¾l, 1l, 1¾l Time: 4m 6.90s (slow by 13.90s)

A Grade Two winner at Navan earlier in the season for Henry de Bromhead, the JP McManus-owned Inthepocket went on to fill the runner-up at the highest level at the Dublin Racing Festival before finishing a creditable fourth to Marine Nationale in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

On the strength of that form Inthepocket was the 3-1 favourite for his third top-level assignment and after racing close to the pace throughout under Rachael Blackmore, he moved smoothly to the lead halfway up the straight and found plenty for pressure on the run-in to secure the honours by length and three-quarters.

Strong Leader came from a mile back to fill the runner-up spot, charging home to beat Luccia to the silver medal, with Hansard not far behind that pair in fourth.

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De Bromhead said: “The Supreme form looks very good, I’m delighted with that and I think that is our first Grade One winner for the McManus family so really happy with that.

“He warmed into it, he was a little bit slow over the first couple but he’s a horse we’ve always thought a lot of and it’s nice to see him go and prove it.

“I was a bit worried about coming back after Cheltenham, but it didn’t make a difference. He was really good.

“I imagine he’ll be going in a field now and then we’ll see. He’s obviously got good size and scope so we’ll see, there are no plans at the moment.”

He added: “I’m open minded about next year. There’s been some good novices this season. He won a nice race at Naas then it was a bit of a funny race at the Dublin Racing Festival before he ran a nice race at Cheltenham in the Supreme.

“But he’s growing up with every run. He’s got pace and he says, he’s a really exciting horse.”

Blackmore said:” I was always happy and if anything I got carried into it a bit too soon because it is a long way to the line from the back of the last. Dropping my stick didn’t help either, but we got away with it.”

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Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
£100,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 2m 103y, Class 1
12 ran
Going: Good to Soft

POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1    Inthepocket 6 11-7 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 3/1F
2
Strong Leader 6 11-7 Olly Murphy Sean Bowen 14/1
3
1 Luccia 5 11-0 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 7/2
4
Hansard 5 11-7 Gary Moore Jamie Moore 40/1
5
Pembroke 6 11-7 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 33/1
6
Matata 5 11-7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Daryl Jacob 80/1
7
Tahmuras 6 11-7 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 16/1
8
11 Found A Fifty 6 11-7 Gordon Elliott Davy Russell 100/30
9
3 Altobelli 5 11-7 Harry Fry Bryan Carver 12/1
10
No Looking Back 5 11-7 Oliver McKiernan Phillip Enright 10/1
11
Rare Edition 6 11-7 Charlie Longsdon Brian Hughes 40/1
PU Hullnback 6 11-7 Fergal O'Brien Paddy Brennan 8/1
NR 2 Colonel Harry 6 11-7 Jamie Snowden NON RUNNER
NR 11 Rubaud 5 11-7 Paul Nicholls NON RUNNER